The unique and interactive effects of anxiety sensitivity and emotion dysregulation in relation to posttraumatic stress, depressive, and anxiety symptoms among trauma-exposed firefighters. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Firefighters are chronically exposed to traumatic events. Relatedly, past work has documented high rates of psychiatric problems, such as posttraumatic stress symptoms and depression, among firefighters. Less is known regarding anxiety symptoms among firefighters. Moreover, little work has examined risk/maintenance factors related to these symptoms among firefighters. Doing so may be important to developing interventions tailored to trauma-exposed firefighters. The current study examined symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depression, panic disorder, and social anxiety among trauma-exposed firefighters. PROCEDURE: Using structural equation modeling, the main and interactive effects of anxiety sensitivity and emotion dysregulation were examined in relation to these symptom outcomes. Participants included 787 male urban firefighters reporting at least one past traumatic event. RESULTS: There was a statistically significant main effect of anxiety sensitivity on each outcome. Emotion dysregulation exerted a statistically significant main effect on posttraumatic stress, depression, and social anxiety symptoms. Interactive effects of anxiety sensitivity and emotion dysregulation did not reach statistical significance but examination of effect sizes suggests that interactive effects may be present for posttraumatic stress symptoms (R2=0.011), depression (R2=0.008), and panic (R2=0.016) such that emotion dysregulation is more strongly related to outcomes when anxiety sensitivity levels are relatively lower. All effects were evident after controlling for trauma severity and history of armed forces service. CONCLUSION: Overall, results suggest that anxiety sensitivity and emotion dysregulation represent unique risk/maintenance factors related to a broad range of emotional symptoms among trauma-exposed firefighters. These findings replicate patterns found among the general population and extend the findings to potentially vulnerable firefighters.

published proceedings

  • Compr Psychiatry

altmetric score

  • 3.45

author list (cited authors)

  • Paulus, D. J., Gallagher, M. W., Bartlett, B. A., Tran, J., & Vujanovic, A. A.

citation count

  • 45

complete list of authors

  • Paulus, Daniel J||Gallagher, Matthew W||Bartlett, Brooke A||Tran, Jana||Vujanovic, Anka A

publication date

  • July 2018